How To Seed Your Own “Seed Bank”
The concept is nothing new. People have collected and stored their own seeds from a number of given sources for hundreds of years to continue productive crop lines, to prepare for crop failures, to even protecting against environmental calamity by way of large scale “doomsday seed banks”.
Governments, non-profit foundations and commercial agriculture have come together, creating seed banks in various locations around the world where over 10,000 seed samples from over 2,000 cultivators for more than 300 plant species are preserved and stored for times of emergency.
What Does Seed Saving Do For Prepper’s?
While the scale and purpose for stockpiling and saving seeds vary, on a personal level storing away essential emergency supplies like a seed bank, if for no other reason, ensures the quality and safety of your family’s food. By collecting and preserving seeds from crops grown in your garden or from a trusted supplier you will know precisely where your food comes from.
Any prepper can ensure the quality and safety of that food through your own production techniques and, given the prices of commercially available seed these days, you will save yourself money each year. And should widespread disaster befall us all, you will have built a cache of quality seeds ensuring a continued long term supply of food and a valuable bartering product if the need arises.
Why Wait? Get Started Now
Start collecting and preserving those survival seeds for the next gardening season. Before making any giant leaps do some research.
Identify the crops that grow well in your region during what seasons. Through seasonal crop rotation there are techniques that will allow you to maintain a productive survival garden most of the year. But first you will need seed. Natural food stores’ produce is a good source. There are also a number of online seed bank suppliers to choose from. Many of whom offer resources to help plan and develop a survival seed bank and garden.
As you get going keep these tips in mind:
- Plan to save only non-GMO, non-hybridized and open-pollinated seeds for your survival garden; or buy heirloom seeds from trusted sources and save the seeds from the fruit/vegetables they produce.
- Choose seeds carefully, saving seeds from fruits and vegetables you like to eat, but also be aware what it takes to grow them.
- Choose seed for your bank that produce a large variety of seeds to increase the chance of viable and reliable crop production should the worst happen.
- Start your garden and develop your gardening skills now, well in advance of when the need for survival is crucial.
- Explore optimal organic gardening techniques like raised beds, vertical gardening, coverings, companion planting and even beneficial insects which reduce work and maintenance requirements.
- Construct greenhouses or protective enclosures to allow four season harvesting in even the harshest of climates.
How To Choose And Preserve Those Precious Seeds?
By now you’re probably asking, “How do I actually go about picking and preserving the survival seeds?”
Start by approaching some seed-saving friends for tips on how to get started. If that isn’t a resource available to you seek out some of the excellent commercial sources available.
Explore survival garden sites on the web to identify reputable heirloom open-pollinated seed suppliers. You can choose from seeds themselves or purchase ready-made seed banks which are prepackaged and all set for long term storage. Be sure to choose seeds that are appropriate to your region. Pineapples tend not to grow well in Wisconsin.
Self-pollinating seeds such as beans, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, endive and chicory are the best to buy. There are few worries about cross-pollination or hybridization. Other seeds will require more attention to ensure they continue to produce. Corn, cucumber, radish and spinach need intervention to prevent cross-pollination. Biennial vegetables like carrots, cabbage and beets require a two year commitment to save their seeds.
Saving seeds harvested from produce you’ve purchased or grown yourself, the general process for their preservation is to first, clean away any residue from the fruit (or vegetable) and soil.
Then lay them out to dry, usually spread out on a clean paper towel. The drying may take a few days, after which they can be stored in ziplock-type bags and stored in a cool dry place. This process will vary depending on the type of seed and where it was harvested from.
To maximize the long-term-storage life of seeds other factors you will want to avoid are exposure to particular environmental conditions. Glass or metal storage containers, sealed correctly are the best. These will provide a barrier to moisture, light and pests. Proper storage of preparedness seeds will assure you have a reliable survival food supply stored on your shelves, ready to go into action when an emergency strikes.